Ways to Exercise Your Dog
A lot of dogs have more energy than a simple jaunt around the block. Regular exercise is essential to stay healthy and fit. Dogs are no exception to this. Exercise is just one of your dog’s basic needs. Life gets busy, so many of us forget to give our dogs the exercise they need.
How Much Exercise Do Dogs Need?
In general, most dogs should get one to two hours of exercise daily to help keep them healthy. Your dog may need more or less depending on age, breed, and tolerance. No two dogs are the same, so discovering your dog’s exercise needs may require some trial and error. When in doubt, give your dog as much exercise as she wants, but be careful not to overdo it.
If you are starting a new exercise program for your dog, make sure to start slowly and let your dog build up endurance and tolerance to the exercise. Watch for signs of exhaustion such as heavy panting, wheezing, lameness, disorientation, and slowing or stopping to lie down during activities. Avoid outdoor activities on very hot days and cold days and be sure your dog has access to fresh, cool water at all times. Stop or reduce exercise if your dog seems tired, achy or disinterested in exercise. Pay attention if notice any signs of illness during or after exercise.
What Kind of Exercise Is Best for My Dog?
There are many activities you can do with your dog while exercising at the same time. Some activities provide more exercise for your dog than for you but are still a fun way to bond. Play fetch with a ball or disc, visit the dog park. Do you want your dog to get involved in dog sports? Agility, flyball, and Obedience Trials are great places to start.
Why not have some fun and start and treat your dog to a new form of exercise? It’s a great way to bond with your dog while staying healthy.
Ideally off leash and preferably in varied terrain. If your dog needs to be on a lead, use a harness that does not restrict his movement. You want a harness that allows your dog free motion in his shoulders.
When choosing where to swim your dog, be aware of Blue-Green Algae toxicity and select your water source carefully. Also, watch for the amount of water your dog might ingest when swimming if he bites at the water or grabs at toys as Water Intoxication is a risk. You might have a canine rehab or swimming facility near you where you can take your dog.
- Stair Work
Your dog walking beside you up and down stairs is good for both of you! You will need to train this with your dog as his natural inclination is likely going to be to gallop up and down the stair case.
- Nose Work
You can start by hiding cookies under cushions and have your dog search for them. You can grow that and even go on to do formal Nose Work which is a dog sport. Chances are you might have a Nose Work class near you.
- Recall Games
Recalls is the foundation of all we do with our dogs, from great family pet to any dog sport imaginable. The games not only create a brilliant relationship with our dogs but exercise bodies and minds too!
The best thing to use for a retrieve is something that your dog can run under and grab while it’s still in the air. You could also use a large soccer ball or similar that you can kick and have your dog bring back to you. Retrieving is fun to teach your dog, and if this is something you would like to do.
- Dog Sports
There is a multitude of sports that you and your dog can enjoy together. Dog sports include Agility, Flyball, Dock Jumping, Disc Dog, Earthdog Trials, Field Trials, Obedience Trials. Chances are you might have some of these sport classes near you.
- Snowshoeing or Skijoring
These are great sports for winter if you live somewhere with snowfall. Make sure that the equipment you use is safe for your dog.
- Dog Parks
Taking your dog to a dog park might be great, or it could also be an experience you would not want your dog to have, so be cautious before letting your dog into a dog park.
When exercising with your dog, let them set the pace. Take breaks for water and rest. Avoid exercising in hot temperatures, especially with dogs that have shorter muzzles (such as Bulldogs or Pugs), senior dogs, and dogs with health conditions.
No matter what type of dog you have, watch for signs of exhaustion, illness or injury. When in doubt, stop exercising and head home.
Also, be aware of your surroundings when exercising with your dog. The presence of other dogs or people may create a dangerous distraction, especially if your dog is off-leash. Be safe and have fun.
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